this is a special edition of "nightline." "consent on campus." >> tonight a highly contentious, deeply complicated issue, often at the explosive intersection of alcohol and hookup culture at schools all across america. can sexual assault be prevented? the personal stories of those living with the trauma and the fallout. >> you're just paralyzed by not knowing how to react to what's going on. >> nothing's the same. at all. >> a father stunned by
reports of sexual assault on campus too numerous to ignore. yet so many cases remain unreported. and unresolved. in the often toxic mix of heavy drinking and hookup culture. at the core of so many cases the question of consent. can consent be defined? can teaching students how to put it into practice prevent lives from being destroyed? we'll meet with several people tonight who believe it can. tova danovich says her nightmare began after a late night out when she decided to crash at a friend's apartment, sharing a futon with a guy she used to date. >> we had all met up. we decided to go out for the evening. at some point later in the evening i woke up and felt him having sex with me. >> reporter: the then 19-year-old, a freshman attending college in new york city, says she was frozen in shock. staying silent through the ordeal while another friend slept just a few feet away. >> you're just paralyzed by not
going on. i didn't know what to do about it. i didn't really want to make a scene. i just pretended to be asleep. >> reporter: tova's experience points to the often-complicated and misunderstood ways people react during a sexual assault. >> if anyone had ever asked me, if someone has sex with you and you don't want them to have sex with you, will you stop them from doing that? the answer would have 110% been, yes. then when the situation actually arose, that was not my response to it. >> people talk about fight or flight without realizing that the third piece is freeze. it kicks in when we're in a situation where we believe we cannot escape. >> reporter: it's not uncommon in the most typical kind of college sexual assault, acquaintance rape. according to a sweeping survey of 27 universities, more than 1 in 5 female undergrads were victims of sexual assault or misconduct. >> it's on us.
growing tide of advocacy from high-profile personalities. >> to get in the way before it happens -- >> reporter: and lady gaga with her song "it can happen to you" speaks to the trauma of victims. it can happen to you happen to you >> reporter: there's also student advocacy. >> no means no! >> it's okay. >> can i put my hand here? >> yes. >> reporter: a big push toward prevention awareness campaigns attempting to clarify sexual consent. >> silence does not equal consent. >> when she's too drunk to function, it's rape. >> reporter: there are new apps designed to record partners' consent. >> yes. >> reporter: add drinking to the mix and it complicates things even more. alcohol or drugs are involved in as much as 80% of sex assault cases. >> he had purchased strawberetas
>> reporter: she had been too out of it to give consent. hanging out at a party with a classmate corey when she felt sick. >> i was throwing up. feeling really dizzy. could not feel my arms or legs. >> reporter: next thing she knew she blacked out. >> the next morning i woke up. and i was completely naked. in the sheets at the base of the bed. he was at the top of the bed. i basically sat up and had -- like just -- completely disorientation disorientation. all that was going through my brain is, i need to get out. >> reporter: unlike tova she says she immediately defined it as rape and filed a report with the school saying corey, a wrestler on the school team, forced herself on her when he was in no condition to consent. the person that i was two years ago today is not even close to being the person that i am now. i now have depression streaks, anxiety streaks, night terrors. >> it's on his record, his life
side to this. c.d.mauk is corey's father and he says his son was completely blind-sided by the accusation. >> he was blown away, he didn't know how to react. that wasn't what he expected. >> reporter: corey, who declined to be interviewed, told his father he remembered the night very differently and that he and morris had consensual sex. >> would i ever think that my son would be involved in sexual assault? absolutely not. >> reporter: c.d. mauk says his family is financially and emotionally drained from the fallout of what he says is the almost impossible task of proving consent. >> where does consent start and where does it end, i don't know. let's remember, we're dealing with young people. many of them who are very inexperienced. there's alcohol around supervision. >> reporter: the university initially dismissed the charges. then weeks later reversed that ruling. finding him responsible. a year after that, a local court said the school improperly shifted the burden of proof.
but by then c.d. says the damage was done. >> you're labeled a rain rapist. you can't go to parties. you can't be with anyone of the opposite sex. >> all the court documents are here -- >> reporter: molly says she feels damaged too, still maintaining she could not have consented and that it was rape. >> life after the assault is not even close to being what it could have been. nothing's the same. at all. >> a lack of a no is not a yes. >> reporter: ian tolino at university of maryland is a peer educator, known as consent bro, part of a growing effort at universities across the country explicitly teaching consent. >> if somebody's assaulted they could just not say anything. >> reporter: the idea that consent must be explicitly obtained before and during sex. >> we talk about what consent is in terms of action and in terms of verbal consent, nonverbal consent. >> reporter: two states have even made consent a legal requirement at their public universities. >> what qualify
nobody knows. nobody can answer that question. >> reporter: all of this is highly controversial and complicated. is it even realistic? >> it seems very black and white. in practice it's a lot more difficult than that. >> reporter: so we brought together tova, c.d. mock, and other unique voices to talk about consent on campus. when we come back, what they have to say. >> you consider that victim blaming? >> yes. >> i consider that being a responsible parent. u have type 2 diabetes, you may know what it's like to deal with high... and low blood sugar. januvia (sitagliptin) is a once-daily pill that, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar. januvia works when your blood sugar is high and works less when your blood sugar is low, because it works by enhancing your body's own ability to lower blood sugar. plus januvia, by itself, is not likely to cause weight gain or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). januvia should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. tell your doctor if you have a history of pancreatitis.
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of people to tackle the complex issue of consent on campus. dr. cheryl errit, 20 years experience of treating victims of trauma. c.d. mock, concerned father and former college wrestling coach. kimberly represented 60 students in college sexual assault complaints. ian, consent bro. tova who says she was assaulted as a college student. dr. gail stern, consent advocate whose improv troop travels the country teaching consent through scenarios like this. >> according to sources you are accused of raping a fellow student amy. >> i admit i had sex with this girl but i did not rape her. >> reporter: these actor educators perform skits like this hundreds of times a year. >> amy alleges she was raped in your room at a party. she said you forced herself on her and she struggled but you pinned her arms down and had sex with her even after she said stop. >> i want to start by thanking the people of penn state.
the idea of consent on campus an important priority, which is why we're here today. let's start with this idea that it's easy as a concept to bring up consent, but in reality, that's a very difficult bar. >> it's not clear yes's are enough, how many actions are enough to constitute consent. >> the fact that we come at it from this perfect spective where it is yes or no makes it difficult on both sides. >> it's so confusing. i would speak more as a coach now. just in talking with my guys. they're thoroughly confused. these are not rapists. the girl consents to kissing. so do i stop kissing five seconds later and say, okay, can i kiss your neck? it's very, very confusing. >> i know -- i know that it can seem very confusing. burt i think a lot of the time we have this idea that male sexuality's like a freight train, it just doesn't stop.
and something were going on and her dad walked in -- would the guy go "sorry, i'm a freight train." would he be across the room pulling his clothes on? consent really does need to be gotten at every single step. if the incentive is strong enough, people can stop. >> have you ever worked with men who expressed surprise that they've learned they've crossed this line? >> well, yeah. they may not realize what they've done is rape even though it's still rape. i don't think they fully grasp the idea of consent, which is so gray, as we've talked about. >> reporter: clarifying consent is what catharsis productions aims to do via these improv scenarios where a young man has been accused of rape. >> we're having a blast, laughing, talking. she was hanging all over me. and my buddy jeff made the usual panty dropper punch which she was plowing through. it was really loud with the music and all the people. she's the one who suggested we
hear me better. i walked her up to my room. she smiles but stumbles and grabs me for balance. i pull her up, she starts kissing me. next thing i know we were having sex. that's pretty much what happened. >> great. does anyone have any questions for aaron? >> did you assume that just because she said she would like to go somewhere else that that meant that a possibility of any sexual activity -- >> like i'm the only one making that assumption? >> when she said stop what went through your head? >> i started to try to take off her clothes but she kind of pushes me back and says, whoa, take it easy, stop. i start kissing her again. this time she didn't do anything to stop me. >> do you think she may not have been able to stay stop again after the first time because of intoxication? >> she chose to drink everything, i didn't force on it her. >> start with the issue of consent and alcohol. are we saying if you're tipsy you cannot give consent? >> yes, and we're saying if you're tipsy, the other person cannot get consent. >> i feel like if alcohol wasn't involved, the answers would be a
>> you're suggesting we ban alcohol on campus? >> as a college student, honestly, i think there should be stricter policies for it. we are entering into a place where a gray area is becoming the majority of these situations. >> reporter: to be -- >> be clear the scenario we depicted, they weren't equally drunk. this isn't a gray area. he used it in that instrumental predatory way. >> 90% of my cases involved the use of alcohol by one or both parties. maybe you don't have sex with somebody if you know they've been drinking even one drink. personal rule. >> reporter: during their freshman year an alarming 15% of women were raped while incapacitated from alcohol or drugs, according to a recent survey. >> i know i'm going to get mauled for this. i'm a father of a daughter also. and with respect to alcohol, i think there's a corresponding responsibility of accountability that goes with the female as
so don't go into at frat at 2:00 in the morning. don't go into a place alone where there's a bunch of guys drinking and play drinking games. to me as a dad, these are commonsense things that i think get lost in this discussion because we're afraid that we're being sexist. i don't see that as sexist. >> ian, i saw you shaking your head. >> shifting responsibility to a specific party, especially the one who's the majority victimized, i think is just not true. >> you consider that victim blaming? >> yes. >> i consider that being a responsible parent. >> it means that every woman has to see every man as a potential threat. and i can't buy that. in terms of responsibility, i'm responsible for what i do when i'm drinking. i'm not responsible for what other people choose to do to me when i'm drinking. >> didn't want to have sex, she could have punched me or kicked, at least screamed. she was sort of laying there.
issue, she didn't fight back. she would have screamed or said something? >> many, many women go into freeze mode during a rape. and it's a survival tactic. >> from a victim's perspective i was somebody who at the time neither said yes nor did i say no. when i was being sexually assaulted. and that made it very difficult for a number of years to actually be able to define whether or not what happened to me qualified as sexual assault. >> think about the number of times that a woman is in a situation where she is thinking that it may be really risky to try to make him mad or make things worse. >> reporter: these are exactly some of the nuances the improv educators try to get at in their performances. >> what did she do right after the whispering that was a clear sign she was not into it? >> she just laid there. >> i don't know about all you guys but if i'm having sex with someone, they just stop moving? i check in with them.
service. >> reporter: a recent study shows that men and women tend to view these cues differently. most men read body language for consent. but very few women give consent that way. >> so can consent be nonverbal? yeah, we all know that. but we all have different body languages. so really what's the easiest, clearest way to get consent? is to make it verbal. ask for it. when somebody kisses someone what that is consent for? consent for kissing, right. >> i was wondering what you think about these consent apps that have been made. because i think they're creepy. so creepy. >> aren't they? yes. >> and not effective at all. >> yeah, well, that's the thing. those things are absolutely null and void because if somebody were to give someone consent at 9:05 and then 9:10 rolls around, they decide to change their mind, that's the thing with consent, it's active, in the moment, ongoing. >> right now if you're in a college campus in that skit he
30 seconds later she changes her mind. and she goes in and accuses him of sexual assault. there's not going to be -- he's going to be kicked out of school immediately. the window for young men. we need to be careful here. you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. which is the way it is today. >> do you know the history of what's happened when historically, for many, many, many years, when women who were raped came forward the victim being blame. >> what you're saying is women have been mistreated for many, many years, which is true. so now let's go get the guys. >> no. >> that's what i heard you just say. i don't mean to be rude -- >> there is no epidemic of false accusation. there is an epidemic of unreported rapes and of women who are not disclosing. that's the fact. >> there are plenty of rapes that go unreported. and that's horrible. let's not try to fix this
group of victims. >> the life-long impact on your education career, career employment, job opportunities, are going to be impacted for the rest of your life. you will always have that label. as sexual predator. >> the only thing that's really going to fix this is for this country to get back to its moral culture. hookups weren't always there. >> i have to agree with you to some extent that i think that the hookup culture is a result of the loosened moral fabric of society. i think that we don't teach young men the right principles anymore. if i can be very frank, i think we need to make sober sex cool again. i think that just people, they let inhibitions loose when they're drunk. >> there's a question back here. >> as someone who's dealt with this multiple times in her life, i have a question just about this. when does the fear stop? when do women feel like they can go into places and not be afraid
>> thank you for your courage. in sharing that. when it's acquaintance rape it can make you doubt your own ability to tell who's okay, who's safe, who isn't. people can get better. so get help and talk to somebody. >> what kind of solutions would you point towards? >> be a bystander, help your friends. we're all in this together. >> if you see something, say something. you could really be saving an enormous amount of pain. >> if you learn the value that people are human beings and deserving of respect, we can beat this. >> we'll have more when we come back. with advil, you' ll ask what backache? what sore wrist? what headache? what bad shoulder? advil makes pain a distant memory.
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we certainly hope you'll weigh in too as we continue the conversation on our "nightline" facebook page and twitter. thanks for watching this special edition of "nightline," "consent on campus." tune into gma first thing tomorrow. as always we're online 24/7 at abcnews.com. good night, america. >> welcome to movie week. we' ve got some of the most fanatical movie buffs in the
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